Many Americans are concerned about achieving a healthy cholesterol level if they are running a little high and rightly so. Lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol are all associated with an increased risk for the development of cardiac disease and other serious health conditions. Regular exercise is one excellent way to achieve low cholesterol levels, as is maintain a healthy weight and keeping the body hydrated. Apart from this however, nutritional therapy has also been shown to be very effective and a diet rich in certain foods such as those discussed below will go a long way towards achieving healthy levels of cholesterol.
While excessive alcohol consumption will raise the risk for heart disease, a glass of wine with dinner will actually help to promote heart health. This is especially true if it is red wine, which is rich in tannins that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Almonds and many other nuts are rich sources of monounsaturated fats. These “healthy” fats can prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, which protects the lining of cardiac blood vessels from damage and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Like almonds, avocadoes also contain high levels of monounsaturated fats. These not only lower LDL cholesterol levels but also raise up HDL levels, the good cholesterol which actually promotes greater heart health.
In a recent study, participants who included barley into their American Heart Association-approved diets had their LDL cholesterol levels drop twice as fast as those who did not. This is likely due to its high dietary fiber content, a nutrient long shown to boost cardiac wellness.
Beans and Lentils
Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that LDL cholesterol levels were lower in those who added regular servings of beans and lentils to a diet which was already high in whole grains and vegetables. Like barley, these legumes are high in heart-healthy fiber.
Blueberries are an excellent choice for a heart-healthy diet because they are rich in a compound called pterostilbene. Pterostilbene is a power anti-oxidant which is associated with lower cholesterol levels and improved cardiac health.
In one study out of the University of Toronto, women who added oats to an already healthy diet had a rise in HDL cholesterol of nearly 11%. Like barley and legumes, oats are yet another rich course of the dietary fiber which can clean our arteries of plaque build-up and promote increases of this good cholesterol.
The foods mentioned above may act in a variety of ways, but the end result of lower LDL cholesterol levels is the same. Reducing these levels can help greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes and keep the heart function at an optimal level.